Sluggish Spurs end pre-season with shoot-out defeat
PUBLISHED: 17:18 04 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:20 04 August 2019
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International Champions Cup: Tottenham Hotspur 1 Inter Milan 1 (4-3 to Inter Milan on penalties)
Tottenham Hotspur finished pre-season with a jaded display in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat at home to Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup this afternoon.
Lucas Moura fired Spurs ahead early on and at this stage Mauricio Pochettino's team looked incredibly sharp, but the tempo they were playing at dropped and it allowed the Serie A side to equalise before the break.
Substitutions interrupted the flow of the friendly some more, but the Lilywhites never got out of third gear in truth and no winner arrived.
It saw penalties required and the hosts were denied twice from 12-yards to finish this summer's International Champions Cup with four points from three games.
The real stuff starts on Saturday at home to Aston Villa and Tottenham will probably welcome the return to competitive action when the talk of transfers can stop and the focus can be solely on winning again.
Spurs were missing a number of players and notably Dele Alli due to an issue with his hamstring, which troubled him so often last season.
Juan Foyth, Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama were also absent and not fit enough to feature as Pochettino stuck with the diamond formation and handed a home debut to Tanguy Ndombele.
In the Internazionale dugout was former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who enjoyed a number of battles with the Spurs manager during his spell in London.
Captaining the two sides were the goalkeepers with Hugo Lloris wearing the armband for the Lilywhites - now he was over his bout of tonsillitis - and Samir Handanovic leading the visitors out.
The game got underway at 3.06pm, with a small number of fans making the trip over from Milan, but it didn't take them long to watch their team fall behind.
Erik Lamela, who has enjoyed a strong pre-season, drove forward with the ball and passed out to Moura, who worked a hard of space and lashed in at the near post with three minutes played.
It was a wonderful start for Spurs and kicked-off their first full season at this ground in brilliant fashion.
Kyle Walker-Peters, the favourite to start here against Aston Villa next weekend, was on the receiving end of a number of strong and late tackles during the opening quarter of an hour, but made a positive impression at right-back.
He got forward with intent and out of some tricky positions on several occasions and another player who was enjoyed himself at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was Lamela.
After another injury-hit campaign, the Argentinian could have found himself on the move this summer, but remains part of Pochettino's squad and is eager to play a key role again when fit.
Lamela continued to put himself about, turning away from Marcelo Brozovic in one passage of play before sliding in on an opponent to win it back minutes later.
Before this, Spurs were fortunate not to concede when Croatian Brozovic attempted to beat Lloris from 25-yards and succeeded in doing so, but hit the inside of the post and luck was not on his side as the ball rolled across goal and away from danger.
Tottenham had failed to significantly kick on after taking the lead, although given it was a pre-season friendly the lackadaisical approach to the fixture from both teams was perhaps understandable.
Eventually it caught up with them when Inter equalised with nine minutes of the first half remaining in N17.
Sebastiano Esposito, 17, had put himself about during the opening exchanges and this time showed his class with a fine flicked through ball for Stefano Sensi, and he slotted past Lloris after being given an enormous amount of time in the area.
It was a deserved equaliser for the Italians and a frustrating moment for Walker-Peters after he switched off alongside Davinson Sanchez on the right side of the back four.
Spurs continued to dictate possession and got into the final third plenty of times, but crucially lacked the desired quality and it remained level at the interval.
Graham Roberts was presented to the crowd alongside Paul Miller at half time and the conversation turned to Justin Edinburgh, who passed away in June after a cardiac arrest.
The former Tottenham left-back had been part of the legends squad which made the trip to Madrid for the Champions League final, but tragically suffered a heart attack days later and then died on June 8.
Roberts praised Edinburgh and described him as "one of the best lads and Tottenham through and through."
Pochettino made two substitutions for the start of the second half with Jan Vertonghen and Moussa Sissoko withdrawn and Toby Alderweireld and Christian Eriksen brought on in their place.
Inter also made some changes and took off impressive teenager Esposito, who made a real mark on the friendly fixture in London.
The crowd of 58,905 spectators were woken up on the hour mark when Handanovic's clearance went straight to Eriksen, and he teed up Lamela for a chance, but Brozovic slide in well to block the effort.
Moura then embarked on a jinking run down the left, but it didn't fashion an opportunity of note and Pochettino introduced more players with 64 on the clock.
Captain Lloris, Harry Winks and the surprisingly quiet Harry Kane were replaced by Paulo Gazzaniga, Oliver Skipp and Heung-min Son.
The armband was handed to Alderweireld, who gave it to Sanchez and the Colombian then continued playing while holding it in his left hand, instead of putting it on.
Formation-wise, Tottenham were now in a 4-2-3-1, but it was Inter who looked most likely to find a winner as the seconds ticking away.
Nicolo Barella tested Gazzaniga in the 77th minute with an effort similar to Brozovic's in the first half, yet it was relatively easy for the back-up stopper.
Pochettino's men were then presented with an opening seconds later after a poor pass by Matteo Politano.
He miscued his ball and it went to Son, who put the Inter defence on the back foot, ran half the length of the pitch and dribbled into the area before Handanovic made an excellent save to deny his fierce effort.
More substitutions were made by the hosts as the final 10 minutes approached with a plethora of youngsters and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou introduced.
For Troy Parrott, it was his first taste of football at the new stadium after missing out on the under-18s fixture in March, which Harvey White featured in.
George Marsh, Anthony Georgiou and Japhet Tanganga also got the chance to make their Tottenham Hotspur Stadium debuts.
Parrott was given a typical introduction to men's football by Danilo D'Ambrosio, who fouled the Irishman on a couple of occasions soon after he entered the pitch.
Spurs then had a penalty shout waved away by referee Andre Marriner before two minutes were added on at the end of the 90.
No further goals occurred so spot-kicks were required to decide which team walked away with two points for their efforts in the capital.
For Pochettino, it would have been another good chance to see which youngsters in the squad put their hand up to take a penalty.
Eriksen took the first for Tottenham and like against Bayern was denied, but the hero from Wednesday night, Gazzaniga, saved from George Puscas.
Son and Nkoudou made no mistake next up with the latter producing a panenka and yet Inter also hit the target through Andrea Ranocchia and Federico Dimarco.
Alderweireld, now wearing the armband, handed Spurs a slight advantage with a fine penalty, but it was back to all square and 3-3 when Politano beat Gazzaniga.
Next up was youngster Skipp and unfortunately for him he was denied from the spot and Joao Mario slotted home Inter's fifth to earn them the extra point in both club's final International Champions Cup fixture of the summer.
Tottenham have the more pressing matter of the start of the Premier League season on Saturday where they will expect to produce a much better display against Aston Villa.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (C) (Gazzaniga 64); Walker-Peters (Marsh 79), Sanchez (Tanganga 79), Vertonghen (Alderweireld 46), Rose (Georgiou 79); Winks (Skipp 64); Sissoko (Eriksen 46), Ndombele (White 80); Lamela (Parrott 78); Lucas (Nkoudou 80), Kane (Son 64).
Unused substitutes: Austin, Whiteman.